KANSAS CITY BARBEQUE SOCIETY    
FACT: There's been an 18% increase in contest participation by members in the past year    
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FACT: 70% of our members grill-out/cook BBQ more than 25 times per year    
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FACT: 70% of KCBS members use Facebook    
FACT: 55% of members choose charcoal when cooking for leisure    
FACT: 23% of KCBS members work in the food service industry as a restauranteur or caterer    
FACT: Learning from friends, family and at competitions is the best way to improve cooking skills    
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Chasing Kingsford

Bourbon Barrel BBQ blazes own BBQ trail
May 17, 2011

From fast cars to low and slow barbeque, it’s been a fun and wild ride for Andrew Armstrong.

Born and raised just a few miles from the Jim Beam distillery (the inspiration for his team’s name – Bourbon Barrel BBQ) in Clermont, Ky., Andrew earned his barbeque chops the good old fashioned way – by making mistakes and figuring out how to correct them. It’s that perseverance that lead him to a third place finish and a win in the Kingsford Points Chase at the Inaugural Run for the Ribs in Louisville, Ky. less than one year after entering his first contest.

Andrew’s first passion was car racing, but after the birth of his son, a lack of time and money led him to find a new (and arguably, more exciting) hobby. Like any red-blooded American male would, he turned to the sport of barbeque.

He purchased a cheap grill from a local hardware store with an offset firebox on the side. Without the slightest clue about how to prepare professional barbeque, Andrew marched down to his local grocer in search of the quintessential barbeque meat – brisket. In his haste to get grilling, Andrew picked up the first package labeled “brisket” – a corned beef brisket.

His first venture into preparing competition barbeque produced a less than winning result – but that didn’t stop Andrew. He worked to perfect his craft and ultimately mastered the art of preparing true (and uncured!) competition brisket. It’s now his favorite category – he took home first place in brisket in Louisville.

Andrew and Bourbon Barrel BBQ have seen quite a few successes in their first year of competition barbeque – despite one fiery setback. In just their second competition, the team literally set the barbeque world ablaze. In the early hours of the morning, Andrew finished putting their pork and brisket entries on the cooker and he thought he’d closed the cooker door before heading in for the night. Twenty minutes later another team knocked on the door – turns out he hadn’t closed the cooker door and his pit was now sporting 4-foot flames. Luckily no one was hurt and the fire was quickly contained – and Bourbon Barrel BBQ’s brisket and pork still took home second place honors.

Bourbon Barrel BBQ has come a long way since Andrew’s first venture into the world of barbeque. It’s safe to say if this year is anything like the last, low and slow barbeque will provide him with just as many high-octane thrills as racing did – if not more!

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